Monday, January 24, 2005

I, The Jury 

Sorry for the lack of posting. I spent last week on a jury for what seemed like a simple enough crime, Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. It turned into several days of defense objections before we reached the obvious guilty verdict (he obviously HADN'T registered). Then, the fun began as the jury got to sentence this repeat offender, and hear details of his prior convictions. We eventually sentenced the defendant to 45 years in prison! I would never have thought that would happen at the beginning of the case. Suffice to say, I have had more enjoyable weeks. I wrote a full post on this on Friday, only to have blogger eat it. Sigh. So lets get back to baseball.

In trying to catch up, I went to my favorite discussion forum, Sportspot.net, and found this interesting link to the history of Mario Mendoza and the "Mendoza Line". Interesting to learn that Bruce Bochte coined the phrase, Tom Paciorek repeated it, and George Brett first made it famous before Chris Berman made it part of our everyday language.

Next, I went looking for some information on our prospects, and found Wait Til Next Year's Top 75 minor leaguers, and settled in at 45-31 are Jeremy Reed (#43) and Shin-Soo Choo (#38). Bryan is down on Jeremy's step back statistically in 2004, but loves Choo as a consummate six-tool player with selectivity as the sixth tool (sixth tool like sixth sense? "I see bad pitches...") Of course, King Felix slides in at #2 on the list, and everyone can't wait to see this guy in the majors. Noticeably absent from the list are Clint Nageotte and Travis Blackley, who last year were pegged at #21 and #37 respectively. Look for a strong year from Nageotte and Blackley to put themselves back in the big leagues by season's end.

Finally, I'd like to put in my annual plea to acquire Byung-Hyun Kim. According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are willing to pay all but $1 million of his $6 million salary in return for a solid prospect. And some "mystery team" has offered to pay up to $2.5 million of Kim's salary with two lesser prospects. When healthy, and not playing in the World Series, Kim is as nasty as they come. He's just 26 years old, sports a career K/BB ratio of over 3.0 and may just need a change of environment in which to thrive. For the 2005 M's, he starts as the righty setup guy and acts as a backup to Guardado for the closer role. He may even move into a 5th starter role (and should before we let Ron Villone sniff it).

Kim's fastball tailed off from its previous 91-93 MPH to a scary 82-85 before missing time last year. By the time of his return in September, he had the velocity back up to 89, so it looks like he should be able to return to his former dominating self. Seems to me that Seattle would provide a good place for Kim to grow up and become the pitcher that his early statistics show he could be.

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